Trading is very limited

I’m loving the game so far, but as many have noted it currently is balanced so as to require a lot of grinding for echos. Trade should be a major source of income for most players but as it stands it isn’t due to several factors:

  1. Very low profit margins on goods
    Example Mushroom Wine profit is 1 echo for a London-Venderbight run.
  2. Very few trade goods available for trade
    Most ports only buy one trade good and many sell no trade goods.
  3. Inability to setup trade loops
    Limited goods mean that the hold is often empty for the trip back.
  4. Non-standard currency
    Many ports don’t accept Echos! While this adds flavor it is infuriating for someone trying to make a living as a trader.

When you add to these factors that fuel is rather expensive for the rate at which its used, trade is currently VERY grindy.

What I’d hope to see in a future update would be:

  1. More variety of trade goods being traded at each port (at least 3-4 per port, preferably 5-6)
  2. Echos accepted in ADDITION to nonstandard currency (i.e. pay 30 echos or 1 Zee-story for X).
  3. Producer ports (cheap goods) and consumer ports (high sell price)

Cool ways to play around with the trade system include:

  • Trader’s Guild - membership fee for better rates/ability to trade certain goods/access to specific ports such as resupply points for food and fuel[/li][li]Floating Debris - snag some random cargo from an ill-fated ship[/li][li]More random events that require skill changes to avoid losing cargo, frequency based on the amount of cargo you’re moving[/li][li]Time-sensitive cargo deliveries with bonuses for extra-speedy deliever[/li][li]More courier runs

Agreed. I was hoping for a return to Uncharted Waters-esque back-and-forth, with a strong profit margin for the wise. Right now it’s just too slim a margin. You’re more likely to make money beating up pirates over and over and hoping for good drops than to buy said drops yourself. Fluctuation of prices over time might be cool, too, if possible.

I really hope that this will be added to the game. To earn echoes, trade is not an easy way.
I totally agree with you Logiwonk, with nothing more to add.

I’m really hoping for some better trade opportunities as the game progresses. It is still early release, so there’s a lot of content yet to come, and I know that the early ports have to be a little sparse to compensate for the later stuff. But I agree that at the moment trade isn’t useful, which is sad. I was anticipating it would be a much bigger part of the game. Waiting with optimism for future updates. :)
edited by Inky Petrel on 7/6/2014

[color=#009900]Trade will always be a secondary feature - we’re not building Patrician - but as with my answer in the other thread just now, this is largely an early access thing. As more ports pop, there’ll be more trade routes; as more narrative pops, there’ll be more opportunities to run cargoes and buy goods cheap. As someone on the Steam forums put it, ‘you’re meant to be more Han Solo than the Hanseatic League.’[/color]

Thanks for the response. I had assumed that at some level trade was limited to ensure that story development was pursued by players. Many of us are used to playing Early Access games, so we don’t mind waiting for the game to be fleshed out. It is a little vexing that there are several shiny ships for sale in Fallen London that we can’t buy because current narrative opportunities are insufficient to afford them and trade is gimped. Thanks for the game and looking forward to future updates!

An additional note: I respect the current vision for the game and think that trade being secondary makes sense. However, the way the game plays, the presences of cargo goods and cargo ships for purchase, combined with player’s previous experiences with Pirates, Patarician, Port Royale, etc will create a strong expectation on the part of the player regarding the ability to play a trade-heavy game. Players will likely assume that you should be able to play as a trader, a privateer, or explorer, so if you can’t make your primary income as a trader you will have a disappointed player set regardless of the stated goals of the game.
edited by Logiwonk on 7/6/2014
edited by Logiwonk on 7/6/2014

You are right on most accounts Logiwonk, but right now trade is possible, even if with a small profit margin, while getting a decent echoes from Port reports and Admiralty Commissions.
To get back to London with cargo to sell for the trip back you should follow a trade route like this:

-London :take Wine and Tomb Colonists.
Go north to Hunter Keep, battle a Pirate if you find one, either loot the ships or, if you have enough crew, send the ship back with a prize crew (if you are unlucky you lose the 2 crewman but if you are lucky you get 50 echoes and your zailors when you get back to London.
Also attack the Flocks of Zee bats you found you can gain 1 supply from them.

-Hunter Keep: take Port report, talk with 1 sister (middle 1 give you -10 terror and 1 supply)
Keep going north to Venderbight.
-Venderbight: sell tomb colonists and Wine, and Recent News, take the port report. You should still have enough supplies and fuel.
Go north to Wither.

-Wither: get port report, if your pages score is high enough attempt riddle.
Go east, past Codex (nothing there yet) get to Chapel of Lights.

-Chapel: eat the bounty (lose all hunger) get port report.
Go east get to Port Palmerstone.

-Port Palmerstone: get port report, talk to deviless, BUY FUEL CHEAP (9 echoes per barrel add up real quickly) buy some Devilbone DIces for 19 echoes, you can sell them at London for 20 echoes, 1 echo profit.
Sail south go to port cecil.

-Port Cecil: get port report, get Schintillack, if you are lucky you get 2, if you are not only 1. Schintillack sell in London for 70 echo each.
Go south to Gaider Mourn, avoid all ships.

-Gaider Mourn: get port report (if you are lucky you also get Strategic Information - 150 echo) try to avoid trouble.
If you still have around 7 fuel and 8-9 supplies you could try to go south east and get to New Khanate, but you should avoid that maybe.
In any case from Gaider Mourn go south east to Station 3 (stuff gets going there once you found a Box) to get only once the Port Report (still 100 echoes).

Then you can choose if going north east, to Abbey Rock and then Mutton island before returning to London or going south east, hitting Godfall and, on the coast the Cumaean Canal, where you can find Memories of the Surface or Moves in the Great Game and Unfinished Pirates.
Then just follow the coast, hit Mutton Islan, take a scroll on the shore and you can find Drowning Pearls useful in the Khanate, and then go home.

You should be able to make a tidy profit like this, in around 15 hours I got the House (1000 echoes) the Serpentine Engine (800 + other 500 echoes of components) and the 1000 echoes lamp. And I get back to 1000 or so in one or two run, depends a little on luck.

Hope this helps a little.

I’ll add to that - for Whither if you have at least 5 Zee stories you can buy Mutersalt that sells for 50 echoes in London. You can also trade stories for fuel or supplies if you are running low.

Also once you are strong enough fight Bound Sharks near Port Cecil, random reward but also a second option to examine the beast that repairs your hull slightly, for a small increase in terror but either way you get a Hunting Trophy that you can trade at Abbey Rock for up to -8 terror.

Eventually you will also want to fight the Corsair’s of Gaider’s Mourn guaranteed at least one each of fuel and supplies and another random thing.